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Governor Otter Makes Ag-Gag Law

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By Paul Johnson

Boise, Idaho (KBOI) - Idaho's controversial "Ag-gag" bill is now law.

Gov. Butch Otter signed the bill Friday.

The bill makes it illegal for animal rights activists to videotape dairies and farm properties without the consent of the owner.

Otter is expected to release a statement to the media soon.

"The fact that the Idaho Legislature just passed an Ag-gag bill makes it crystal clear that the abuse found at the Bettencourt Dairies was just the tip of the iceberg," Humane Society of the United States spokesman Matthew Dominguez told KBOI 2News earlier this week. "It's pretty sad to see the lengths that the dairy industry would go to cover up this abuse."

Representatives who spoke against the bill said that passing it would make Idaho's dairy industry look guilty.

"I'm afraid that the message that goes out to the nation and to the world if we pass this legislation is 'We've got something to hide, and we don't want you to see it,'" Rep. Grant Burgoyne said.

But supporters of the bill say the agricultural industry has nothing to hide.

"When individuals say we're trying to hide something, quite frankly, that's quite wrong," Idaho Dairymen's Association Executive Director Bob Naerebout said. "The industry is very open, our producers are proud of what they do, they're proud of how they take care of the animals and our operations are pretty much open."

Backers say the focus of the bill isn't about animal abuse at all. Instead, they say it's about protecting farm families and their property rights.

"I believe that as a business owner you have a constitutional rights to protect your assets," Rep. John Vander Woude said.

"When we came across the Senate, and we came across today with a 56-14 vote, that's a very strong vote," Naerebout said.


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